What You Need in Your Conference Registration Software, Part 2

In our last posting we reviewed the right technology for your conference. We mentioned that a full conference registration package should have all of these elements (where applicable):

  • Online Registration with Conditional Logic
  • Flexible Pricing and Discounting
  • Membership database links
  • Self-Service registration
  • Transaction Based Accounting
  • Exhibitor Management
  • E-Marketing
  • Real-time Custom Reports
  • Onsite Registration
  • Post-conference surveys

We covered the first three elements in our previous article – now let’s look at the next three.

Self-Service Registration

Are your registrants able to go back in and update their registration?  Can you add a conference event after registration opens and give existing registrants an opportunity to go back and update their registration?  If not, you may be leaving money on the table!

What about groups?  Can the manager of the group go back at a later time and enter the names of the participants?  Often people do not know all the members of a group until after initial registration (or the group members change). Can the group make all the changes it needs on its own or do they need to call you?  If the latter is the case, you may be setting yourself up for a lot of additional work.

Transaction Based Accounting

Does you registration system only allow payment by credit card? If so, then you’re probably manually keying in many of your government and larger purchases.   For many conferences with a strong government component, such as education conferences, you will need to offer other ways to secure registration.  Most important of these is securing the registration with a purchase order.  It may be that you are missing out on a lot of automation of your conference registrations by not having this option.

How about cash or check payments? Are you able to record these as the transactions they really are or do you have to “fake it”?  What about Wire Transfer, E-checks and others? Can you handle a partial payment? What about discounts?  Does your registration system assume one registration-one credit card payment, or are you able to produce a transaction based ledger for each registration?

Exhibitor Management

Your exhibitor management software should both create a sensational way to market your exhibitors prior and after the trade show while at the same time reducing the huge administrative costs of managing exhibitors.  The best way to do this is to provide an Interactive Trade Show Floor Map online! Nothing beats having your floor map online and allowing the exhibitors to purchase the booth they want on the spot.  With this mechanism get your revenue right away while also being spared the large expense of managing the purchase of booths. You also can have the exhibitors enter valuable data such as their company and product information, staffers, contacts and so forth.  They can even upload their logos for the printed program.  The key point here is the exhibitors do the work and not you! Furthermore, with a map, attendees can visually preview the exhibitors on the trade show floor and make plans for who they want to visit.

Such a tool should allow the planners to quickly and easily manage the booth information.  Your conference registration software should be able to handle everything from setting booth and sponsorship fees to adding, deleting and joining booths to real-time reporting to badge printing.  Speaking of the latter, the software should be able to print 1D and 2D bar codes on the badges so your exhibitors can take advantage of lead retrieval to improve their ROI.

Does your conference registration software make it easy for sponsors to see what is available and to make purchases or upgrade online?  Sponsor revenue is critical and you don’t want to make it difficult for them to be a part of your show. Simple selection and online credit card purchasing of key sponsorships is a must.  Like exhibitors, sponsors should be able to enter their company and product information and enter staffers.  You should be able to quickly customize any negotiated deals you made with sponsors and make these available for easy online purchase.

You do not want to lose money and increase costs by using an inadequate conference registration system.  Unless your tool has these and other handy features, you may be losing out. Our next few posts will look at some other features that first-rate conference registration software must have.  In the meantime, for more questions about whether your conference registration software is as efficient as it should be, contact Event Rebels today!